How to say happy birthday in French in 24 fun ways (plus song lyrics!)

Elinor Zucchet

Your francophone friend is having a birthday soon? Or you want to self-congratulate yourself for your birthday in a stylish way? There is always a reason to eat a birthday cake and sing happy birthday in French!

From “happy birthday my love” in French — other ways to say I love you here — to “happy belated birthday” in French, we’ve gathered 24 ways to celebrate this special day. Without forgetting the song and the happy birthday card in French, of course.

Oh, I got so excited with this article that I almost forgot my manners — désolée ! If it’s your birthday, “joyeux anniversaire”!!!

Man carries a birthday cake and sings Happy Birthday in French.

How to say happy birthday in French and French Canadian

In most French speaking countries, “Joyeux anniversaire” and “Bon anniversaire” are the most common expressions to wish a happy birthday. In Québec, they also use “Bonne fête”. However, “Bonne fête” outside of Québec is only used to celebrate a person’s name day (Saint day) or seasonal greetings like Mother’s and Father’s Day. For example, “Bonne fête des mères/des pères”.

What about anniversaries?

In French, “anniversaire” means both “birthday” and “anniversary”. For example, a wedding anniversary is “anniversaire de mariage”. Who said French was difficult?

English French IPA Country or context
Happy birthday! Joyeux anniversaire ! ʒwajøx‿ anivɛɾsɛɾə ! All-purpose.
Good birthday! Bon anniversaire ! bõn‿ anivɛɾsɛɾə ! All-purpose.
Belated happy birthday! Joyeux anniversaire en retard ! ʒwajøx‿ anivɛɾsɛɾɑ̃ ɾətaɾ ! All-purpose.
Many happy returns! Plein de bonnes choses ! plɛ̃ də bɔnə ʃozə ! All-purpose.
Thanks for being born! Merci d'être né(e) ! mɛɾsi dɛtɾə ne(ɛ) ! All-purpose.
Happy birthday, my love. Joyeux anniversaire, mon amour. ʒwajøx‿ anivɛɾsɛɾə mõn‿ amuɾ. All-purpose.
Happy birthday, brother/sister/mom/dad. Joyeux anniversaire, mon frère/ma sœur/maman/papa. ʒwajøx‿ anivɛɾsɛɾə, mõ fɾɛɾɛ/ma sœɾ/maman/papa. All-purpose.
Happy birthday grandma/grandpa. Joyeux anniversaire mamie/papi or mémé/pépé ʒwajøx‿ anivɛɾsɛɾə mamjɛ/papi ɔɾ meme/pepe All-purpose.
Another year around the sun - happy birthday! Un an de plus ! Joyeux anniversaire ! œ̃n‿ ɑ̃ də ply ! ʒwajøx‿ anivɛɾsɛɾə ! All-purpose.
Wishing you a very happy birthday! Je te souhaite un très joyeux anniversaire ! ʒə tə suɛt œ̃ tɾe ʒwajøx‿ anivɛɾsɛɾə ! All-purpose.
HBD (English abbreviation) Bon anniv or Joyeux anniv bõn‿ aniv‿ ɔɾ ʒwajøx‿ ani All-purpose.
Happy birthday, my friend. Joyeux anniversaire, mon ami(e). ʒwajøx‿ anivɛɾsɛɾə mõn‿ ami(ɛ). All-purpose.
Happy birthday, cousin. Joyeux anniversaire, cousin. ʒwajøx‿ anivɛɾsɛɾə, kuzɛ̃. All-purpose.
Best birthday wishes to you! Meilleurs vœux d'anniversaire ! mɛjœɾ vø danivɛɾsɛɾə ! All-purpose.
Happy birthday, beautiful! Joyeux anniversaire, ma belle ! ʒwajøx‿ anivɛɾsɛɾə ma bɛlə ! More used for women.
Happy 21st/ 30th/40th/50th etc. birthday Joyeux 21e/ 30e/ 40e/50e anniversaire etc. ʒwajø 21ɛ/ 30ɛ/ 40ɛ/50 anivɛɾsɛɾ ɛtk. All-purpose.
Hope all your birthday wishes come true! J'espère que tous tes vœux d'anniversaire se réaliseront ! ʒɛspɛɾə kə tute vø danivɛɾsɛɾə sə ɾealizəɾõ ! All-purpose.
Happy birthday in heaven. Joyeux anniversaire au paradis. ʒwajøx‿ anivɛɾsɛɾ o paɾadi. All-purpose.
Happy birthday, have a good one! Joyeux anniversaire, passe une belle journée ! ʒwajøx‿ anivɛɾsɛɾə, pas ynə bɛlə ʒuɾneə ! All-purpose.
Have a wonderful birthday! Je te souhaite un merveilleux anniversaire ! ʒə tə suɛt œ̃ mɛɾvɛjøx‿ anivɛɾsɛɾə ! All-purpose.
One more year is a motive for celebration! Un an de plus, ça se fête ! œ̃n‿ ɑ̃ də ply, sa sə fɛtə ! All-purpose.
All the best for your birthday! Tout le meilleur pour ton anniversaire ! tu lə mɛjœɾ puɾ tõn‿ anivɛɾsɛɾə ! All-purpose.
It’s your birthday, blow the candles! C’est ton anniversaire, souffle les bougies ! kɛ tõn‿ anivɛɾsɛɾə, sufləle buʒjə ! All-purpose.
Happy birthday! Bonne fête ! bɔnə fɛtə ! Canada

Happy birthday in French song [video] with lyrics

Are you ready to sing “Joyeux anniversaire” in French? We have some good news! The melody is the same as in English (and many other languages, actually), and the lyrics are very, very simple — some would say very, very repetitive. Here is how to proceed:

  • Listen to the official song below.
  • Learn the lyrics.
  • Get a delicious cake and candles.
  • Light the candles.
  • Call the birthday boy/girl.
  • Sing as if there is no tomorrow!

CHANSON - JOYEUX ANNIVERSAIRE

Happy birthday in French lyrics (simple version)

Joyeux anniversaire
Joyeux anniversaire
Joyeux anniversaire NAME
Joyeux anniversaire

Piece of birthday cake, right?

Happy birthday in French lyrics (long version)

Now, if you want to take French learning to the next level, here is a longer version of “Joyeux anniversaire”. It was used in the iconic 80s and 90s kids show “Club Dorothée” to wish a happy birthday to all Club members. And believe me, in France, you didn’t have a proper 80s childhood without being a member of “Club Dorothée”. Enjoy this vintage video!

Lyrics:

Joyeux anniversaire
Joyeux anniversaire
Heureux anniversaire
Tous nos vœux sont sincères
Pour ton anniversaire
Tes amis aujourd'hui
Se sont tous réunis
Ton bonheur on l'espère
Pour ton anniversaire
Joyeux anniversaire
Heureux anniversaire
Tous nos vœux sont sincères
Pour ton anniversaire
Anniversaire, anniversaire
Joyeux anniversaire...

How to write a happy birthday card message in French

Not into singing? Don’t look for excuses! Even if your friend is across the world, there’s technology. Or do you want to add a birthday card to your beautiful, moving rendition of “Joyeux anniversaire” song? Here are a few nice things you can write on a happy birthday card in French. You may also add a lovely compliment!

For mom:

  • À la meilleure mère du monde ! Joyeux anniversaire !
  • Maman, tu prends toujours soin des autres mais je voudrais qu’en ce jour tu nous laisses prendre soin de toi. Je t’aime !

For dad:

  • Tu es bien plus qu’un père pour moi : tu es mon ami, mon exemple, mon modèle. Joyeux anniversaire, papa !
  • Comme le bon vin, tu deviens meilleur avec l’âge ! Joyeux anniversaire !

For a sister/brother:

  • Joyeux anniversaire petit frère/petite soeur ! Tu grandis trop vite !
  • Je suis vraiment fier d’avoir un grand frère/une grande sœur comme toi. Joyeux anniversaire !
  • Joyeux anniversaire, frangin/frangine ! J’espère que cette journée sera encore plus géniale que toi !

For a loved one:

  • J’espère que ton anniversaire sera aussi unique et merveilleux que toi. Je t’aime !
  • Je souhaite passer tous mes anniversaires avec toi. Des surprises t’attendent aujourd’hui :-) Bon anniversaire mon cœur !

For a friend:

  • Joyeux anniversaire à mon meilleur ami/ma meilleure amie !
  • Les vrais amis/amies sont pour la vie ! Je te souhaite un super anniversaire !

At this point, you’re either happy to have learned so much French vocab, or you never want to hear the word “anniversaire” again. Are you ready to wish a happy birthday in French? Cake? Check. Card? Check. Song? Check. Gift? Check. What about some flowers?

And if there’s no birthday coming up, you can still practice and have a party for a “Joyeux non anniversaire”!

Final tip: Sing “Joyeux anniversaire” twice while washing your hands to make sure they are clean — and to remember the lyrics at the same time!

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